tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC March 31, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PDT
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it's covered by most health plans. and good thursday morning to you. i'm jose diaz balart. up first today, donald trump sensitive and wobbly stances on abortion causing a rare bipartisan jup roar across the country. it's a front page story of newspapers from new york to l.a. to miami. it all started right here on msnbc. gop front-runner taking three different positions on the issue in the span of about three hours yesterday. during our exclusive town hall last night, trump ignited a firestorm over what he would do as president if abortions were made illegal. latest poll shows nearly 3 in 4 women have a negative view of him and it could help swing the pendulum toward ted cruz in
tuesday's crucial primary in wisconsin. >> do you believe in punishment for abortions? yes or no, as a principle. >> the answer is that there has to be some form of punishment. >> for the women? >> yeah. some form. >> ten cents, ten years? >> i don't know. that i don't know. >> why? >> i don't know. >> you take isspositions on everything else. >> it's a complicated position. >> trump quickly tried to clarify those comments saying any punishment left up to the states and hours later he said it's the doctors who perform the procedure to be punished and not the women. the critics aren't buying it. painting him as a flip flopper. trump taking meet from republicans and democrats as well as groups on both sides of the abortion debate. >> should women who get abortions be punished? >> of course not. donald's comments today are just the latest demonstrations that he hasn't thought seriously about the problems facing this country. willing to say anything to try
to get elected. >> absolutely not. and i mean, i do have exceptions for rape, incest and life of mother, but of course women shouldn't be punished. i think donald trump figures out a way to say he didn't say it or misquoted or whatever but i don't think so. >> i'm constantly just taken aback at the kinds of things that he advocates for. you know, maya and lou said when someone shows you who he is believe him. he's shown us who he is. >> women have a right to control their own bodies and personal decisions themselves. but to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension. >> well, trump is trying to change the subject. nbc news confirming he is meeting with the foreign policy team today in d.c. and he is also come out with new information on his taxes. but the big question this morning, will any of this derail his path to the nomination? wisconsin is a must-win for him
and that primary's just five days away. our political team is standing by this morning. nbc's kelly o'donnell in green bay. and kelly, let's start with you. this is exactly what the critics have been hitting donald trump on, that you never know where he stands on any issue. >> reporter: and, jose, part of that is a product of being a first-time candidate. although he's been in the national and even international sort of conversation for decades, been the subject of a lot of media scrutiny, but not in this way as a candidate, and typically candidates learn a degree of discipline and preparation that helps them to defend against these sort of situations. thinking outloud as presidential candidate can be fraught with peril and what donald trump is experiencing here. you almost saw the position evolve in the moment with each question and follow-up of chris matthews and then that sort of confirmed by the fact that his campaign had to try to fix it by
putting out a written statement. never as powerful as the words of the candidate himself. but part of what they tried to say, jose, was that the issue is unclear and should be put back in the states for determination. that's often a conservative point of view. like ronald reagan, i am pro-life with exceptions which i have outlined numerous times. invoking ronald reagan whenever you're on shaky ground can be helpful in the republican primary season and the exceptions and saying that he has talked about it many times, suggesting, oh, his position hasn't changed. but then they go a bit further saying if congress wants to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts uphold it, he goes on to say it should be the doctor or someone performing an abortion who would face any sort of punishment or legal ramifications and not the woman. they say the woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb and set off other issues about women not portrayed
as victims. and then, again, saying ronald reagan, position has not changed. the more a candidate says a position has not changed the more you get a sense that what they said or trying to fix is problematic for them. what we don't really have a measure of yet, jose, because so many things with donald trump defy convention, how will this affect voters? how carefully are they reviewing this? certainly to ignite people on the conservative right and the democratic left, to be angry about the same issue is a unique feat and donald trump has pulled that off with his comments about abortion, problematic for him but can he try to change the news cycle today and get people to talk about something else? jose? >> kelly o'donnell in green bay, thank you. now los angeles finding hally jackson with the cruz campaign and covering the cruz campaign, i should say. hallie, good morning. how's cruz going to capitalize on this trump comment?
>> well, i think you're seeing him talk about it in response to what trump is saying, he came out yesterday and said this indicated something deeper about donald trump and the campaign and his policies, of course, cruz for several months now has been trying to portray donald trump as simply too liberal for the conservative nomination and watch for him to continue to push the line when he is asked about it. cruz is in california, though, taking a break from wisconsin at least for a moment to do jimmy kimmel last night and finance events set for today and lighter moment on kimmel asked about donald trump. it was playing off of a segment that aired earlier in the show on an april fool's day prank and that will make sense when you listen to it. watch. >> donald -- donald is a unique individual. i will say i was watching the early part of the show and if i were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw donald in the back-up camera -- i'm not confident which pedal i would push. >> so, cruz, playing off a
rear-view mirror segment kimmel had out there and focusing not just on california, a key primary, delegates at stake but what's happening in wisconsin where he is up over donald trump, according to the latest marquette poll by ten points. this is significant for ted cruz. wisconsin is a place looking at the poll there, donald trump at 30%. john kasich at 21%. cruz and the campaign not just want to do well but need to in order to get momentum and point to wisconsin and say, see, we can appeal to this kind of conservative, to a wisconsin conservative that is more focused on, let's say, jobs and economic security. that's part of cruz's message lately. an aide telling me in response to the marquette poll they're encouraged by this and speaks the how cruz is what they call optimistic message resonating. that message is a little refined from what we heard from cruz in january or february. talking more about working class people, talking more about jobs and national security which is
something that's been a foundation of the campaign for a while. but you are seeing the working class message trying to persuade voters in wisconsin he should be their candidate. back to you. >> hallie jackson, 7:09 in the morning for us in los angeles, thank you so much. great seeing you. and now milwaukee, wisconsin. nbc's chris jansing is there. great seeing you. this is the ultimate trump versus the establishment fight an how does it look on the ground there? >> reporter: well, there's no doubt about it but this is probably the last best chance for the republican establishment to show that they can go up against donald trump and win. they haven't had a lot of success so far. but i tell you, i talked to a number of long-time gop operatives here in wisconsin. they all feel like trump himself has created a huge opening for them. you talked about the abortion comments. number one. they can't understand how you can be a republican candidate and not have a clear view of what your position on this issue is, especially in wisconsin that has a very strong pro-life
movement. there was a talk show curfuffle on monday. we went on a talk show, very popular here, charlie sykes and donald trump didn't seem to know he said anything negative against him. widely considered to be a bad performance as a matter of fact even today on thursday i have heard people say they can't believe what they heard on monday. corey lewandowski brought up by several people and see him in florida charged with his -- the misdemeanor assault on a reporter. and they say that -- in the words of one operative, shows how crass this campaign has become. and i think, finally, you look at his attacks on scott walker. the governor here not tremendously popular but among the conservative base that votes very consistently in primaries he is still extremely popular.
won here three times so you add all of that up and you look at what's inside the marquette poll that has him behind ted cruz by ten points and you see the unfavors and that's a key number. they have gone from 35% to 45% to 51% in march. and so, for the establishment, these are critical things they're looking at and one more thing, jose. turnout. as you know, that's always very important here. they expect to get a very big turnout because there's obviously so much interest here. there's a number of other races that have been on the front pages, as well. normally people say that that would seem to favor trump. there's some feeling that all the things taken over the last week energized the opposition in the closing days before tuesday's voting. >> chris, thank you very much. great seeing you. i want to bring in analyst and former senior adviser to rand paul and senior political
writer. thanks for being with me. miguel, let's start with you. we have seen firestorms around trump's comments before, all kinds of comments with all different firestorms and not really affecting him. do you think this is different? >> i don't know if it's different in terms of whether it will chip away at the core base of support. one thing different in this episode that is somewhat revealing is trump's campaign rushed out a statement as soon as the news broke of what he said about punishments for women who have obtained abortions. rushed out a statement clearly reversing his position. i mean, you could say it's a clarification, a walk back. it was -- essentially retracting what he had said. anyone that saw that interview knows that he was not talking about doctors who performed illegal abortions. he was talking about women. and i think that the fact that the campaign was so quick to issue this statement kind of retracting what he had said signal that is he might be
looking toward the general election already. where i think that trump and a lot of his allies hope that his relatively moderate position on abortion at least in the past would help him as he goes up against hillary clinton. i think that the fact that the campaign was very eager to take this back does signal something about how trump feels about his place in the primary and he's probably hoping that he can move past this and that this won't be a noose around the neck going into the general. >> and elise, let's talk about that because i think chris jansing commenting on the fact that you would think that if you're going to run for president and you are serious about it that you would at least think about the major issues are that could possibly be brought up during the process getting to the nomination. and just yesterday, i mean, what, three different stances on abortion. is this something that -- i mean, clearly, any other
candidate would be nailed to this. is this something that we just expect from trump now? >> i think that this is for once maybe a little bit different. just because trump has over the weekend really i feel like this narrative solidified of trump's anti-women attitudes and, you know, he's been plagued by it the entire cam pin and comes on the heels of heidi cruz, of criticizing ted cruz's wife. of accusing the ted cruz mistress story that trump is rumored to have been behind with no credibility at all. and then there's this, punishing women who have had abortions and also, you know, i forgot one more, how about his campaign manager being accused of misdemeanor assault on a female reporter? so it's just a litany of problems and it all comes down to trump's fundamental attitude against women that is not that friendly and women aren't likely what they're seeing about three quarters of women vote earls dislike trump and that's not the
way to win general election and certainly i think it's going to be hard in this republican primary, too. >> yeah. mckay, back to the issue of the supporters, the people that will support trump, this may seem to them like, really, what -- how he thinks things out. you know, i mean, the nuclear triad, not really clear on that but not a big deal. built a wall and mexico pay for it. how that's done? we'll work on that later. >> right. >> you know, there's just over and over again these comments that he kind of thinks things through. and yet, mckay, this disease seem different. >> well, i think that it's true because on the issue of the nuclear triad, for example, that's probably something that a lot of trump supporters don't know a lot about. they haven't thought about it. they're willing to forgive donald trump for not having a clearly articulated position on that issue. abortion is an issue that everyone in the country has an opinion on.
everyone has thought about it. i thought it was fascinating watching that exchange yesterday because you could almost see the gears turning in his head, in donald trump's head, where he was kind of like, punishments for women with abortion? is that something that conservatives want? i don't know. like he was trying to figure out what the right answer to that question was. he obviously had not thought about it very much. i think ted cruz is right about this. so yes, i think his voters, supporters tend to forgive him for stuff like this and i think abortion even a lot of trump supporters probably like, really? he doesn't have an answer for that? that's a little strange. >> donald trump is a 70-year-old american man. he's lived through the abortion debate. he should have a well-defined opinion to be leader of our -- leader of the free world. >> elise and mckay, thank you very much for being with me this morning. appreciate your time. bringing in political analyst rick tyler, former spokesman for the ted cruz
campaign. good to see you. >> good morning, jose. >> take us into a major campaign reich there. what do the people around trump -- forget trump. what do the people around trump thinking and how do they put out the firestorm? >> i don't know how they handle this. i mean, this is another case where donald trump is keeping his own counsel and it doesn't seem to be very wise counsel. when you're presidential candidate, you have to think through a lot of different issues and you have to think about them all the time or be interested in them, well versed and experts on foreign policy, experts in the life movement and this is just another revelation that donald trump has not thought seriously about many of the policy issues that a president will face. >> yeah. i mean, when you're up against chris matthews who, you know, consistent on getting an answer from you, and doesn't let you slide, you think that, you know, you would go in there a little bit, you know, prepared. >> i've learned that firsthand.
and, yes. chris ma thuile tthews is going prepared. he gave a fair, tough interview and sykes in wisconsin is a conservative, he is a cruz s suppo supporter. donald trump went into the interview seemingly not knowing anything about charlie sykes and that's just something that campaigns need to do their homework on, be we paired to do. again, he was -- the lack of knowledge of really simple public policy questions, some cases axiomanic is blet tareathg and trump covers for this. he changes the subject. but now you're seeing fizz yours in that. i think the tide is turning a little bit and see that in the polls in wisconsin where trump should have been a -- continue to be a front-runner in wisconsin which he was because it's a blue collar working class state in a lot of regards. and he should have done well there and now he's ten points
behind. something is changing. >> yeah. trump has always been great at, you know, kind of beating all of the odds or the expectations. how do you change the subject now on this? >> i don't know. i think it's sort of an act is worn out. you know, everybody's seen how trump operates and it was a mystery a lot of people including myself and now you can see how he does it. asked a tough question, he turns it back on the interviewer or he'll change the subject or he'll just say something that's just crazy and he get it is interviewer off the subject. chris matthews did not allow him to do. charlie sykes didn't allow him to do that. people caught on to how he manipulates and stays relevant in the press so we'll see. but the real question is, do peemt want this kind of a person with this kind of a temperament to be their leader, their commander in chief? do they trust him to create jobs? frankly, if you look at the cook political report that came out i think this morning, it shows
hillary clinton in the electoral college with a commanding lead of about 347 delegates over donald trump and he would be stuck below 200. that's not a good prospect for the republican party. >> rick tyler, good to see you. >> thank you. bernie sanders working to maintain momentum after the weekend sweep across the west. now all eyes are on wisconsin and next week's primary. it's just a stone's throw away. where the race stands, ahead, on msnbc, the place for politics. statement... make sure it's an intelligent one. the all-new audi a4, with available virtual cockpit. playingalways stacy.l phil? at kpmg we've always believed leadership is about vision and integrity. confidence. inspiration. and passion.
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nafta. >> bernie sanders moments ago talking trade and tackling hillary clinton's positions on trade. senator sanders will also hold a rally this hour in pittsburgh before heading to new york city for a rally in the bronx. hillary clinton has an event in northern new york city and suburbs. next hour, a quinnipiac university poll out this morning finds secretary clinton with a 12-point lead over senator sanders in new york. in wisconsin, where voters head to the polls next tuesday, sanders with a 4-point lead over clinton according to a new marquette law school poll. nbc's kristen welker is following the campaigns. the comments of abortion giving democrats ammunition today? >> they are, jose. secretary clinton fights for the primary race, she has her eye on the general election, as well. she is taking aim at donald trump for a whole host of issues, some of the controversial comments on foreign policy, a wall, for example, but the comments he made yesterday on abortion that got so many backlash from the
left and the right gave secretary clinton new fodder. take a listen to what she had to say. >> what he said today is just among the most outrageous and dangerous statements that i've heard anybody running for president say in a really long time. >> i will do everything that i can to allow women to make that choice and have access to clinics all over this country so that if they choose to an abortion they will be able to do so. the idea of punishing a woman, that is just, you know, beyond comprehension. >> and, jose, you can anticipate that secretary clinton and bernie sanders will have more harsh words for donald trump to. they're locked in the fight over who would be the tougher competitor against a donald trump in a general election but they're still locked in the fierce fight themselves. senator sanders looking very strong in wisconsin as you just pointed out. the clinton campaign bracing for a loss in that staios and making new york that much more important. this is a big battleground and
secretary clinton leading by 12 points. that's a double digit lead and the clinton campaign likes it. she's going to be making case to new yorkers today, remember my two terms here as senator. i deal an equally good job as president if you liked what i did as senator. bernie sanders stumping here in the bronx a little bit later on today. that is larger, more diverse state a. primary typically the type of state what favors secretary clinton but senator sanders making a strong play here, as well. he was born in brooklyn. jose? >> that's right. kristen welker in new york, thank you. >> thank you. the pulse of the people after a quick break. wisconsin voters on the record about the race for the white house and what they want from their commander in chief. next. ok team, what if 30,000 people download the new app? we're good. okay... what if a million people download the new app? we're good.
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dates need to make the case to union workers. tony dokoupil at the united steelworkers union in south milwaukee. some democrats may vote republican on tuesday? >> reporter: it's possible, jose. united steelwork earls is largest industrial union in america, very diverse union. casino workers to industrial workers making heavy, heavy equipment. nationally there isn't an endorsement and probably won't be until after the primary and here we're hearing support of bernie sanders. this is not lue we lewis. dewey lewis. a president of this location and a caterpillar and supports bernie sanders. why do you think bernie sanders is garnering union support? >> one of the things i think feeding the anger that a lot of people feel out in the electorate is that wage gap. there's a huge wage gap and most people put the blame for that on
wall street. on both sides of the political spectrum, tea party to the occupy wall street, they all have the same idea about this. and i think of all the candidates out there, there's nobody addressing that more vocally and directly to the electorate the way bernie sanders is. that's catching a lot of attention. >> donald trump won in michigan, a tate that many people say is similar to wisconsin. do you think he might win among union members in wisconsin, as well? >> geez. that's hard to say. i think there is some people that would probably want to vote for donald trump. because, again, he also addresses some of the same issues that bernie does. among the people i talk to and the ones i know, vast majority more likely to vote democratic and bernie sanders. >> thank you, dewey, not hewey. that's the living insight in the poll we saw yesterday, bernie sanders a four-point lead over hillary clinton making up a double digit deficit and donald trump trailing by ten points and not converting the union vote
like in other states and bernie sanders it appears is very much doing so. jose? >> tony dokoupil, thank you very much. new video raising questions of paul ryan. could the house speaker be gearing up to stand up if there's a contested gop convention? the footage that has some speculating when we come back. es being cked and intellectual property being stolen. that is cyber-crime and it affects each and every one of us. microsoft created the digital crimes unit to fight cyber-crime. we use the microsoft cloud to visualize information so we can track down the criminals. when it comes to the cloud, trust d security are paramount. we're building what we learn back into the cloud to make people and organizations safer. wrely on the us postal service? because when they ship with us,
better than clorox. paul ryan consistently tried to tamp down speculation to emerge as the republican nominee from a contested gop convention but a new video released by the speaker's team may add fuel to the fire. >> here's our job as leaders, we need to raise our gaze and we need to raise our game and talk about ideas. try to unite us. not prey on people's separations or their identities. >> let's go live to capitol hill. nbc's luke russert is there. good morning. what's behind this video? >> reporter: good morning, jose.
what a way to tamp down presidential talk, right? release a campaign style video of you talking about big ideas in front of a room of young people on capitol hill. speaker ryan's team says, look, this is something that they have long planned for. they want the house of representatives to remain part of the conversation moving forward. they're very proud of the conservative agenda in the house and ryan has said that he would inject himself into the presidential conversation whenever he saw conservatism at least the way he understands conservatism threatened. so releasing a videos like this ahead of the wisconsin primary, i'm sure it put a lot of questions out there in the electorate. he still is adamant he is not running for president, won't try anything at the convention. he is the chairman of the convention and has to call the balls and strikes as he said but i think it's interesting that the video is out there and certainly looks presidential and how it was produced by caleb smith, the guy that works for ryan. >> yeah. wisconsin is just five days
away. the primary there. speaker ryan cast his vote? >> reporter: he has but he won't disclose who he voted for. take a listen to what he said on the bill bennet show. >> i have voted but i'm not going to tell you how i voted. i'm going to keep my powder dry because as chairman of the convention i believe i need to be a referee calling the balls and strikes as a dispassionate neutral observer. i'm not going to mention who i voted for in wisconsin. our primary is next tuesday and i'm just, you know, i'm going to speak out on issues when i see things that need commenting on. case by case basis. i'll do that. to defend conservatism as i know it. >> reporter: he's not to be here and peppered with questions from reporters about donald trump's recent comments on abortion. but as you heard it right there, he cast a vote in wisconsin. and from covering ryan since becoming speaker, he's publicly come out against trump in at least three occasions so i think it's fair to speculate that vote
was probably not for donald trump. his role moving forward's going to be fascinating because a lot of republican operatives i have spoken to said if ryan or mcconnell or other bulls in the establishment went out, perhaps that hurts cruz and look like he's too much in the boat with the establishment and a question that's being pondered right now. we'll see if they do it. ryan is adamant to be the referee at the convention in cleveland. what a job he has, jose. he thought it was ceremonial when he signed up for it. >> yep, yep. who knew, huh? thanks. good to see. labor in wisconsin reporter patrick marley. good to see you. >> hi. >> let's take a look at the latest polls in wisconsin. cruz leading on the republican side. and bernie sanders leading on the democratic side. let's look at the numbers there. what are you hearing from voters there about the issues? specifically to wisconsin that
mean the most to them. >> i think it's the same kind of things across the country important to republican voters, for instance. national security. it's something that a lot of vote earls talk about and they have really tied it to particular candidates. defeating isis is big deal, whether you're talking to somebody supporting donald trump or ted cruz. >> you know, your paper just yesterday the milwaukee journal sentinel released an op-ed attacking hillary clinton's record. normally, the editorial boards of papers release an endorsement of a candidate they support. what's behind releasing an op-ed critical of a candidate? >> well, i mean, i'm not involved with that -- >> right. i know you're not. >> -- with writing the editorials, obviously. our paper's taken a strong stance from the editorial page on open government and a big deal particularly here in wisconsin. there was an effort led by republican governor scott walker and republicans in the legislature to eviscerate the state's open records law. this opened the eyes of a lot of people and a bipartisan response
that stopped that. since then in particular, our paper which is always a champion of open government taken a hard line on that and a lot of e toirls like that and they didn't like the record of hillary clinton. >> talking about the republicans for a bit, what do you attribute the trump drop over the past couple of months in wisconsin? >> good question. though it's not really a drop. he's at about 30%. cruz in the latest poll's at 40%. essentially, trump stayed the same. what's happened is that cruz came from behind. he was 20% previously and came up with 40% and you can attribute it to rubio dropping out. the stop trump or never trump movement coalescing around cruz. they're seeing him as the best alternative, the best way to stop trump and republicans in wisconsin seem to be -- >> what about the governor? what about the governor? do you think he's -- >> absolutely. he endorsed cruz on tuesday. and says he'll campaign with him in the coming days.
he hasn't yet. the govern nor's not very popular with the general populous right now since dropping out of the presidential race but popular among republicans and also helps them. talk radio behind cruz. they spent a lot of time talking about the race, talking about donald trump, what they don't like about him. i think that's influential on conservative voters. >> thank you. >> thank you. up next, the democrats eye on the empire state. both hillary clinton and bernie sanders working to take all in new york's upcoming primary. where the numbers stand and what's at stake after another short break. >> my opponent and i share many of the same goals. but some of his ideas for how to get there won't pass, others just won't work because the numbers don't add up. my opponent says, well, we are just not thinking big enough. well, this is new york. nobody dreams bigger than we do. we were born 100 years ago
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talking about the new numbers in this morning from new york which holds presidential primaries 19th of april. donald trump leads by 26 points. ted cruz and kasich in a fight for second. hillary clinton a former new york senator leads brooklyn-born bernie sanders by 12 points in the democratic race. we are joined by liz benjamin, host of "capital tonight." great seeing you, liz. >> hi, jose. thanks for having me. >> anything surprise you in these numbers? >> not really. actually, i mean, what is interesting in the head to head matchups, clinton versus any one of the republicans, the person who comes closest to her is kasich, actually. which isn't surprising if you understand the brand of republicanism that is generally held in new york. we're viewed as a more moderate state.
but our last republican governor was george pataki and he was once running for president himself. of course, he dropped out fairly early. but he's a fairly moderate republican. i'm not surprised by the numbers. i am surprised that donald trump's negatives so high compared to hillary clinton negatives because they were running both of them fairly high negatives even in this their home state or her adopted home state let's say. but his are much higher than hers according to the quinnipiac poll released today. >> looking at the numbers between sanders and clinton, 12-point different, seems like a lot. it certainly is a lot. but it's something that sanders has been known to be able to chip away at in other contests in other states. >> yeah. i mean, there are a couple of things about that. first of all, there's certain l room for him among disaffected liberals, if you will. the last time of a gubernatorial
race in 2014 andrew cuomo a centrist and a member of the clinton white house, he was hud secretary under bill clinton, he did not run very strongly on the left. he's been struggling to shore up support on the left and he was challenged in a primary by a woman and she performed surprisingly strongly among folks who were progressive and wanted to send a message so there are -- there's room and the working families party and other labor backed quote/unquote progressive organizations, citizen action, et cetera, doan ericssoned sanders and fighting for him and there's certainly room for him to move. he says he'll make an issue out of fracks which was a big deal in new york. of course, the governor banned it for the time being and kind of settled issue now and some people remain politically active on that issue and some of them sanders supporters so i wouldn't be terribly surprised to see it close and vermont's next door going upstate and he's not an
unknown entity. but she's got a very strong base here. she's very well-known. she has a lot of really loyal people who remember the years here for better or for worse. among democrats, for better when she was a senator. and there is a lot of excitement and really sort of loyalty for her and also if you look at the numbers, sanders as usual as we have seen has a problem with black voters and she's performing well there. >> liz, thank you for being with me. good to see you this morning. appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. new details of donald trump's tax returns. ari melber is standing by with the new developments right after this. it's a good morning when ari melber is on the show. trolling for a gig with braindrone? can't blame you. it's a drone you control with your brain, which controls your thumbs, which control this joystick. no, i'm actually over at the ge booth. we're creating the operating system for industry. it's called predix. it's gonna change the way the world works. ok, i'm telling my brain to tell the drone to get you a copy of my resume.
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msnbc cleef legal correspondent ari melber is here to walk us through the letter and affect it is conversation about the taxes, ari. >> that's right, jose. this is something that candidates and the press asking for for weeks and i'll read from the letter. it is short from the tax lawyers and it says to donald trump, your personal tax returns have been under continuous examination by the irs since 2002. consistent with the irs's practice for large and complex businesses. now, jose, let me just be clear. continuous examination is a legal term within sort of tax law that can refer, of course, to an audit. and there's a lot of headlines saying today it confirms the audit. i wouldn't go that far. i would say basically donald trump's tax lawyers are using language suggestive of an ongoing audit without ever using the word audit. i don't mean to be a stickler but the things matter and a lot of the controversy is just around why he will only release certain amounts of information so i would say his tax lawyers
think there is ongoing irs review and, of course, as we have reported previously, the irs itself doesn't confirm or deny it for individual taxpayers. now the context. it was back in february 25th when the so-called audit issue came up at a gop debate. this letter this i'm reading to you today as news, it was written march 7th, okay, march 7th is when the lawyers wrote it up. only been released just now by the trump campaign and why we're reporting it as news. so there's a gap question there of whether it was prepared. decided not to release it for sometime and now released it. why? one answer is this is what people are asking for and potentially trying to put out information and stories when donald trump is under fire from the comments of abortion made and recanted to chris matthews so an interesting development on a story we're watching for a while.
>> you are a stickler. >> that's fair. >> continuous examination. you're saying this's a legal term? >> yeah. >> so if i look at a paper every week, that doesn't mean that i'm necessarily examining it continuously. what exactly does it mean? >> exactly. it is a great point. continuous examination refers to a process whereby the irs is determined to go on a year by year ongoing basis and look at something. and again, to be fair and clear, that is not necessarily a bad thing. that might reflect the complexity of an organization. in this letter that i quoted to you, the trump lawyers say that they have over 500 different entities involved in the donald trump organization, his business dealings. so the irs may want to look at that for a lot of time and ultimately find nothing wrong. so my point isn't that there's anything untoward there but only in this debate over audits they have released the letter confirming this examination but they never got around to using the word audit.
>> so continuous examination could, however, mean audit? >> could absolutely mean audit or, dwagain, as a lawyer, might not mean audit. the trump organization and the trump campaign is less forthcoming about these taxes and these documents than many other campaigns and presidents. they're not breaking a law there. they have every right to decide what they want to do. trump is howing high complex the taxes can be. they haven't given up much information. >> ari melber, good to see you, buddy. thanks. that wraps up this hour of "msnbc live." thank you. tamron hall is up next. i'll see you here tomorrow. (vo) one hundred million pounds. that's how much garbage visitors to our national parks add to the country's landfills each year. but this year, subaru is sharing their zero-landfill expertise with the national parks to work toward the goal of
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live from msnbc election headquarters in new york. we begin with trump campaign in full damage control mode this morning. after the gop front-runner ignited a firestorm during a msnbc town hall by insisting if abortion were outlawed women violating the ban should be punished. this morning, a campaign spokesperson for trump dismissed his remarks as, quote, misspeak. trump himself has been silent on the matter. not even taking to twitter to issue another comment or clarification. as he so often does. here's how it unfolded last night on msnbc town hall hosted by chris matthews. >> if you say it's a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law. should abortion be punished? >> well, people in certain parts of the republican party and conservative republicans would say, yes, they should be punished. >> how abo